Friday, April 29, 2011

"...more of you to love, my dear...."

Anabel - 2 weeks old
When Tori turned five months we were shocked at how much weight she had put on in such a short amount of time. She was quickly becoming a little Buddha and she surprised everyone who met her... and then Eadie shocked us all even further with her further dramatic display of weight-gain as she gained 20lbs in only 6 months. We watched her actually get bigger each new day, it was just extraordinary.. 

And now there is Anabel.

She was our biggest born baby, weighing 7lbs (3.1kg). Over this past week I noticed that her newborn nappies were leaking more and more, and I definitely noticed that I was dressing her in larger and larger clothes all the time; Clothes I had stored away because I was certain she wouldn't be wearing them for at least three months.

When I bought her new "infant" nappies (as opposed to 'newborns') and finally stopped the leaking, I was surprised to see on the outside of the pack that they were for babies 10lb and larger. Surely not! Had she really put on 3.5lbs in only 6 weeks? Well, today we went to the doctor. I placed her on the scales, and had to get the doctor to check the exact measurement, as I wasn't sure I was reading it correctly.

"She's five and a half kilos" the doctor said. How much was that, I wondered, as I have always measured my babies in pounds. I quickly did the calculation... could that be right? We both checked again... She is 12.5lbs!!  What the -?? Wow! The doctor was very impressed, but funnily enough not very surprised given my history. Also,  it confirmed to me that it doesn't matter whether I feed my babies formula or breast milk, I simply grow 'em BIG! 

In only 6 weeks Anabel has managed to put on a staggering 5.5lbs... Wow! I thought my arms were just getting weaker, but as I carry her from place to place it's a relief to know otherwise! So I guess all that is left to do is say... "Well done baby!" and then take a look at these adorable pics!:

3 weeks old

4 weeks old

6 weeks old

Hanging with Nanna G

I thought it was about time the girls got to know their oldest living relative, so today we visited Great Grandma Gleeson's house - what a fun time! They loved playing in her front yard, an entire courtyard filled with exciting pebbles and rocks to pickup and play with. It never ceases to amaze me how much they love that simple activity... We then looked at her vegetable patch where we picked corn from huge stalks. They grew a lot bigger than the ones mummy had in the backyard, that's for sure!

Nanna and I caught up in the process, and she got to know her newest great grandchild a little better. She had even made the girls an adorable paper dog with movable body parts. She said it was the kind of toy she taught her kids how to make when they were their ages.

The girls loved it, so Nanna set to work making another one. Tori and Eadie loved learning how to make the new toys. And we now have two new additions to our play-time; Tori's girl dog named Kelly, and Eadie's boy puppy, Tommy. Thanks Nan!

Easter Indoor Fun

These Easter holidays have been pretty wet, and Easter Friday as predicted was no exception. Still, we got together for the annual Hunt-Christinson-Montes Easter-egg backyard hunt. We thought for a while that the rain would hold out long enough to go outside, but it didn't. So, at the risk of being attacked by eight mini chocoholics, we decided to turn all the lights off and have the hunt inside!

After a delicious meal the mums ran around hiding the chocolate eggs while the dads kept the ratbags at bay. But before long sixteen desperate little feet jumped down the stairs, torches flashing everywhere! I manged to get some pics of the cute event and I think it's safe to say that to kids, indoor Easter-egg hunts are just as exciting as outdoor ones :-) Enjoy the pics!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Mini-Me Emerging...

This is random but I just have to throw it in for memory's sake..

While over at los abuelos yesterday (Saturday) I was watching Vettoria play in the backyard with a ball. The sun was shining and she was laughing freely. All of a sudden as I watched her, I saw it.. something I had never seen before, but had always longed for.... I saw me. In her gorgeous little face I saw a glimpse of myself. I don't know what it was exactly, but the shape of her face, the way she smiled, and the color of her hair all combined to make my heart skip multiple beats as I sat there watching her. I had never experienced anything like it, watching her and seeing myself in her just made my heart sing!

How do other people do it? It must be a constant rush to see themselves in their children as so many parents do, for example Alisha and Glen with their carbon-copy offspring. They must see themselves in their kids all day every day - how exciting! I guess you just get used to it though... but for me, it has been a totally thrilling experience.

But the weird thing is that the moment was only that - a moment. The experience only lasted about five minutes. I was distracted and then when I looked back at her again I couldn't see it. As weird as that sounds, it's annoyingly true. I look on her now and see only Tori, my beautiful little girl... and of course her dad.. humph... But, for a moment I was there too... After almost four years of waiting I could finally see beyond the tanned Latina signorita and caught a glimpse of the freckly little white kid I know is in there somewhere...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Laughing Buddha

I wanted to put these out there for all to see our adorable 5 week old laughing up a storm - I've never had - or even seen - a baby so young just smile away as easily as Anabel does - and she has been smiling since the first week! When I told people she had smiled at me a couple of days after she was born I had some try to convince me that although the smiles appear real, they were really just 'breaking wind'. Well, these are the same smiles, and I just love every minute watching her and snapping away. Hope you enjoy them too!

"Why you little...!!"

You can imagine my horror when I walk into the lounge room to see THIS on my couch:

As I ran towards the mess I could only scream one word - "NOOO!!!!!" like some dramatic death scene in a movie. I instantly knew who was to blame, which lead me quickly to my second word - "EADIE!!!!"

In all my efforts to keep my things away from the toddlers, all it takes is ONE moment of weakness.... just saying five words to yourself, "I'll put that away later" is the difference between feeling perfectly fine, and screaming aloud while wanting to pull your hair out. In this case it was my favorite lipsticks, eye-liners and bronzers. Lipsticks squashed, eyeliners broken, compacts smashed to pieces... So sad.. So frustrating... so what more was there to do but shake my head, learn my lesson, and take a photo of the little ratbag? Have a laugh... that's what I force myself to do.....

Daddy-Daughter Dates

About 2 weeks ago Juan took Tori on her first Daddy-Daughter Date. Tori was so excited when Juan 'asked her out' she set about getting ready, putting on her clothes, brushing her hair, and basically exciting herself no end. I remember going on Daddy-Daughter Dates with my dad as a young girl and I was so excited to begin the tradition with our girls.

While Daddy went out with Tori, Eadie and I stayed home and had some of our own one-on-one time together. First we played with puzzles, then watched a DVD while we ate lunch. During the puzzles I asked Eadie if she would like me to make her some lunch and even though I knew she was probably hungry she said "no, I wanna play puzzles with you mum". It was so sweet and really hit home to me how much my children love spending time with me, even if it's just sitting down and handing them puzzle pieces. During the movie I had my arm around her and she leaned into me as we sat on the couch, and every 10 minutes or so she would look up at me and give me a huge grin that just said it all.

A couple of hours later, Juan and Tori came home and Tori was filled with stories of their - and I quote - "great deete!" First they went to the shops and much to Tori's pleasure (and Juan's new-found patience) they went shopping. Tori scored by walking away with a new cash register to play shops at home with Eadie, much to her delight. Daddy then watched on as Tori played on the shop playground , and after that they went and had a special ice-cream at Cold Rock, Tori's favorite ice-cream shop. What a day! She was so excited, and I could tell she absolutely adored the time one-on-one with her dad.

As for private time with Anabel, I feel I get many wonderful opportunities to share special moments with her. When the older girls are watching TV or playing in their room I will often sneak a few moments to just lay on the bed and play with my youngest daughter. She is so quick to smile and loves lots of cuddles and snuggles. Just being with her and having her in my arms makes me smile and laugh as we get to know eachother.

Making time for each child can prove to be a tricky and even complicated ordeal. The girls tell me in different ways when they want my undivided attention and all too often I am just unable to give it to them when they want it. Tori will literally walk over to me and put her arms around my neck and say "I love you mama", while Eadie will come to me arms outstretched wanting to be picked up. It breaks my heart when I can't pick them up or hug them back for one reason or another, so I really feel it is important to make the time to do it. So hopefully our little dates are one way we can make them feel like the special little angels they are.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Five Weeks Later...

I cannot believe five weeks have passed already! Time surely flies when you're having fun - and have three kids who don't give you time to look at the clock let alone notice where the time is actually going! Having said this we are all doing well. Here, I'll update the kids all individually:

Anabel - Baby Bel is just a delight. She has already put on almost 1kg in this first month and I have a feeling she will be taking after her sisters in putting on a LOT of weight in a short space of time. We have a little Buddha on our hands!! Anabel loves to smile and laugh and be with the action. From week one I had seen smiles here and there - and they were not 'wind' related! But now, at just five weeks she is smiling up a storm! Every day we sit with her and she grins away as we poke and tickle all the right places. It never ceases to amaze me how much I love to see my babies smile. Sets my heart on fire! :)

Bel's sleeping patterns vary. By this stage both Eadie and Tori were pretty much sleeping through, but I don't think Anabel will be doing that for some time. She will sometimes only wake one or two times from midnight to 6am, which is a nice relief, but most of the time she will wake every couple of hours, sometimes more, which can be extremely exhausting. Often she will wake around 3am and doesn't want to go back to sleep until well after 4am. Not too fun! She is a very typical baby in that way; I am now the mother who paces in front of the bedroom window at 4.30am, baby in arms, trying to get her back to sleep. I've never had to do it before, so I guess it had to happen sooner or later. But apart from that, things are running smoothly. She is already in OOO clothes which is big considering she was only 7lbs at birth and wearing OOOOO. She naps well throughout the day but there are longer and longer spaces between her naps now. This is ok as she is a pretty content baby who is happy to sit and watch the world a lot of the time. If she's not settling, all we have to do is pick her up and she's better. Needless to say I have used the hug-a-bub sling Kara lent me multiple times! It is most convenient while making dinner! Bel is an absolutely delightful baby with an abundance of patience and good humour in that beautiful little personality of hers.

Eadith - Eadie has, and is still expressing herself in a variety of ways. She absolutely loves Anabel and shows her affection by giving her lots of kisses and cuddles. Eadie's version of kisses is smearing her often wet mouth on to poor Bel's face, and the way she cuddles is by placing her entire head onto her head, covering the baby's little face with her mass of curly hair. I am constantly saying "OK Eadie, that's enough... back away now". This usually turns into "Eadie, I said that's enough, she can't breath!" The first couple of weeks after Bel came home Eadith expressed herself in rebellious ways by doing naughty things and basically not listening to a word I said. I have felt so frustrated as I ask her to do one thing or another only to be given an adamant "no!" in return. This is normal enough for toddlers, but I will often have to raise my voice, give the "one...two...two and a half....." or threaten trouble in order for her to even pay attention to what I am saying now. It can be very frustrating particularly if I am in the middle of feeding or busy with something. Having said this, she is definitely speaking more than ever and every day comes out with new phrases and comments. Juan and I often look at each other and say "I didn't even know she knew that word!" She is growing so quickly and is proving to be very independent and eager for fun. She plays so well with Tori now, even though her social skills with other kids isn't as easy for her. But, like Tori I am sure she will get there soon enough. She is also very caring, and is the first person to ask "Are you ok?" if you have a sad look on your face or if she noticed you hurt yourself in some way. She is a good sharer most of the time, and will move over and let Tori sit next to her, or give her the choice of which DVD to watch. She is just a beautiful little girl and it's a great joy to watch how much she loves her sisters.

Vettoria - Tori is the one in which I have noticed the most change. From the first week the difference in her behaviour was noticeable. Her love for Anabel was definitely obvious, but so was her sudden and dramatic rebelliousness toward me. For the first week my voice felt like it was a constant 4 octaves higher and 6 octaves lower as I raised my voice and threatened my way throughout the day. For the first time ever, Vettoria was blatantly disobedient in almost everything I asked her to do. I said "don't do it", she would look at me and then go and do it. I said "come here", she would walk the other way. But despite all this, I could see she loved her new little sister, so I really tried to encourage interaction between the two of them. By the end of the first week I knew I couldn't take much more of her behaviour, so I had two options: 1) let her spend some time with my visiting parents while the baby and I had some time out, or 2) spend some one-on-one time with just her doing something together. I knew that option number 2 would make her happy and give us much needed time alone, so I left the baby and Eadie with my parents while Tori and I had a mummy-daughter date. We first went to McDonald's for an ice cream and then went to the shops to get some things before heading to her favorite spot, the lake at Underwood Park to feed the ducks. She loved it, and even though I was an emotional wreck after the week I had had with the girls, it was a much needed moment that was desperate to be shared between us. Surprisingly, that small gesture of alone time with her seemed to work magic, because her behaviour has improved quite a lot. I have really tried to make an effort to take time out for her when I get the chance, even if it's just sitting at the table and doing her 'homework', sitting beside her and watching a DVD or just give her a hug and tell her I love her. I can see how much she loves my attention and how she is desperate to show me what a good girl she can be. But now, instead of rebelling against me she has turned her attention to poor Eadie, haha. Their favorite game is now 'mummys and babies' and Eadie is ALWAYS the baby. The poor girl gets told what to do and she actually does it. She has been sent to the naughty corner countless times, all in the name of 'fun play'. Tori has actually taken on the role of Eadie's 'mummy' a little too realistically, and I am constantly telling her to stop disciplining Eadith and reminding her that she is her SISTER and NOT her mummy. It also seems Vettoria is expressing herself now in competitive ways rather than naughtiness. EVERYTHING is a competition; walking up the stairs, eating dinner, even getting dressed! But that's a whole other post altogether. She loves helping me and holding the baby. She is very patient with Anabel and gives her small kisses on the top of her head every opportunity she gets. I can see that she just wants to help and please me and I am so grateful for her and her sweet personality.

Juan - Juan is the most patient husband in the world! He comes home to an horrifically messy house every single day and never complains. He just takes the baby and plays with the girls, giving me much needed time to finish dinner. He has accepted (with rolling eyes) the fact that the baby feeds at almost the exact time every night, which is the time when the girls are going to bed. He has become their favorite bed-time story book reader over the past month as he makes noises and voices for their favorite characters. He also gives me extra time to sleep in while he looks after the girls as he gets ready for work. Thanks babe, it is much appreciated! Meanwhile, ALMOST everyone comments how much Bel looks like her dad... bla bla bla, we've heard it all before. BUT more than ever before we are also hearing how much she looks like ME!! yay!! At last, a small but enthusiastic handful of people have actually said the words. I still don't see it, but I'll take whatever comments I can get! Meanwhile, Juan went on his first 'daddy-daughter' outing with Tori the other week, so check out the post :)

Me - What a mixture of emotions I had had this past month! In the first two weeks I was seriously running on endorfins or adrenaline or something. Despite the exhaustion I knew was there, I had energy and could even survive without a nanna nap in the day. But then week two ended and reality set in. UGH, the exhaustion of it! Nanna naps became a normal part of the day when Eadie had her nap, I am so grateful Tori is old enough to be content with a DVD for a hour or so. This has also meant that my house is absolutely appalling. It's definitely the messiest it has ever been, often there is not a space on the floor to walk through without having to step over bits and pieces. It's a mix of everything- nappies, books, DVDs, shoes, toys, crayons, clean washing, dirty washing, pillows, blankets, puzzles. Just stuff I say i will get to later, or that I physically cannot or cannot be bothered picking up at the time. Then before I know it I wake up the next day and face the same mess again... and again.... and again. Just when I say "OK, time to clean!" the baby wakes up for a feed, Eadie poos on the floor, Tori smacks Eadie, or little people need to be fed. And then of course I have to ask myself the question: "OK, the baby is asleep, I have two options: clean, or spend some one-on-one time with the girls for a few minutes...." I know that this is so important right now, so I have to literally stop what I am doing and go to them. I really had no idea the baby would take up so much of their one-on-one time. I had totally underestimated it. It is an actual conscious effort to notice what is important right now and opt to go and make time for them. It's something I am still getting used to but it is getting easier to prioritise. Everyone tells me "don't push yourself! You just had a baby! Just relax!" but trying to balance between cleaning, kids, and relaxing is proving to he tougher than I thought... it's like somethings gotta give and at the moment it's my housework. I will have to get better at making it all work together.

Meanwhile, something great is that I am still progressing with breastfeeding! I am very excited about it, and it really is going well. Don't get me wrong, we're not 100% pain free but it's definitely something I will continue with for as long as I can. The number one downfall with it is that I feel like an animal as I constantly have something literally attached to me. Sometimes it feels like the baby is feeding every single hour, I swear.. SO annoying. But I am also just so relieved that I can actually do it, and in many ways it is very convenient, so if being a human-cow is the con in it all I'll put up with it for now. :)

Wanna hear something crazy? It may very much be the hormones talking, but I am open to the idea of discussing baby number four. I know! I said three was it, but I can't shake the feeling that there are more. I don't know how many, four sounds enough for now, but how weird is that? I think it's just that the pregnancy and the labor went so much better than in the past, and I am now breast feeding successfully, and basically Anabel is a delight. I feel good and even my pregnancy belly has gone down dramatically (and my before-children cleavage is now back...haha :) I don't know... maybe I'm just crazy.. anyway, it wont be for a couple of years, so there is still time to evaluate and convince myself otherwise....

So that is where were up to. Apart from all that, I cut my own hair-- No kidding! I was bored and looking in the mirror one day thinking I needed to go to the hairdressers. Yeah right, like that was going to happen anytime soon... so instead I picked up a pair of hair scissors and began trimming! Just some light layering in the front and back to give it some movement. By the end I had cut off a lot more than I thought, and people even complement it-- Very exciting! And then I experimented with a new hair style instead of straight all the time - an 80s look with big poofy 'waves' which are more poofs than waves, but I think it's fun - and its easy, which is what I am really into right now!

I have also hit the op-shops lately and got myself some "in between" shirts, the clothes you wear when you don't fit your pre-baby clothes, but no longer fit your maternity clothes (not that you want to wear them post-pregnancy anyway!) So, between my new hair and 'new' clothes, I feel almost like a normal 30 year old 'girl'. Of course that is in between the breastfeeding, nanna-naps, cooking, cleaning (when I actually do it), disciplining, playing and being mummy!! Ahhh... C'est la vie!